Today the National Weather Service reported that the May 31, 2013 EF-5 tornado that struck El Reno, Oklahoma (25 miles west of Oklahoma City), was the widest tornado on record. Measuring 2.6 miles across, it beat the previous 2.4-mile wide twister that hit Hallam, Nebraska on May 22, 2004. The Friday tornado and its resulting flooding claimed 18 lives, including six children, a dozen adults, and the famed storm chaser, Tim Samaras. Area hospitals treated 115 injuries after Friday’s storm. The tornado’s width was measured by a mobile radar unit as the storm passed south of El Reno near Highway 81, and only includes the tornado itself, and not winds surrounding the storm.
We knew that some storm chasers had been killed in Oklahoma last week but were not aware that storied storm chaser, Tim Samaras, one of the highly-respected stars of Discovery Channel's Storm Chasers television series, was one of the victims of the May 31, 2013 twister. The twister that formed Friday near El Reno, Okla., was shrouded in rain and moved in an eccentric, quick turning path toward the east. The tornado overtook Samaras and his team who found themselves caught up in traffic during rush hour. Among the 13 reported fatalities were veteran tornado researcher Tim Samaras, 55; his son, Paul, 24; and colleague Carl Young, 45.
While the devastation from yesterday's tornado in Moore, Oklahoma boggles the mind, the video below may prove even more astonishing. An unknown (but brave) videographer managed to capture not only the birth of the tornado in Newcastle, Oklahoma, but also its evolution from a small twister to the massive EF-5 monster that leveled homes and took many lives during its 45-minute trek through Moore.
A new study published by Science reconstructs global temperatures further back than any previous study, going back a whopping 11,300 years to study historic global temperature changes in the Earth's atmosphere. The most notable study prior to this was Penn State University’s 1999 study which used tree rings to show a massive uptick in temperatures in the 20th century, when humans began dumping large amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. The new study uses objects collected from more than 70 different sites, primarily fossilized ocean shells that have been unearthed by oceanographers. Chemical tracers in the shells of fossilized shells link closely to temperature changes in the environment.
On November 27, 2012, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft captured this amazing image of a monster storm raging at Saturn’s north pole. Viewed from 361,000 kilometers away, the storm’s sinister eye looks quite similar to Earth-based hurricanes leading scientists to surmise that the ringed planet’s storms form in much the same way, with warm, moist air rising from lower cloud layers to form a swirling vortex. Cassini captured the image in infrared wavelengths, which can peer deep into Saturn’s cloud layers. It is estimated that the storm is several times the surface area of the Earth in size.
The World Bank has issued a report, titled Turn Down the Heat: Why a 4 degree C Warmer World Must Be Avoided”, in which it claims the planet is on course for seven-degree Fahrenheit (four-degrees Celsius) temperature rise that cannot be avoided with current greenhouse warming correction techniques. The report opens with this grave warning: “It is my hope that this report shocks us into action. Even for those of us already committed to fighting climate change, I hope it causes us to work with much more urgency.”
As Hurricane Sandy assaulted New York City with pelting rain and lashing winds, a camera atop Northside Piers in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, chronicled the monster storm's descent on Manhattan. In the video we see the blackout as it rolls across New York followed by swarms of flashing police lights zipping across the city in the dark.
As Hurricane Sandy, aka “Frankenstorm”, approaches the Northeastern shores of the United States, New York City’s Mass Transit Authority closed all their transportation systems, including the infamous New York Subway system, leaving an eerily empty underground world that brings to mind what it would look like during the great apocalypse. Here are pictures of the empty New York Subway system provided by the MTA.
Six Italian scientists and one ex-government official have just been sentenced to six-years in prison for multiple manslaughter after failing to accurately predict deadly 2009 earthquake. The courts found that the scientists gave falsely reassuring statements after studying tremors that had shaken the Italian city of L'Aquila. The 6.3 magnitude quake killed 309 people.
The Permian-Triassic mass extinction occurred 252 million years ago. It is Earth’s most devastating mass extinction event with up to 96% of all marine species and 70% of land animals becoming extinct. Researchers now believe they know what caused it and why life took over 5 million years to recover - extreme, lethal temperatures up to 140 degrees on land..